This time, despite exposure in Canadian national media, the NDP was strangely silent. Even after it was revealed that a second elected member of the party had also endorsed the Canadian Boat to Gaza, the NDP leader said simply that he had been unaware that two members of his parliamentary delegation supported the Canadian Boat to Gaza, and worries that such a course of action carries “severe risks.” Confrontation with Israel, he said, is not official NDP policy. Mr. Layton apparently met with the Israeli ambassador once more, but no further details were provided. He also spoke with the other member of his party to endorse the plan, a newly elected NDP member of parliament from the city of Montreal, and the member quickly abandoned his public support of the Canadian Boat to Gaza. Mr. Atamenenko, however, has not retracted his support, and refuses to speak to the media.
Clearly, the NDP leadership wishes to avoid being linked to an overtly anti-Israel cause, especially given its newfound influence in Canadian politics: if they wish to remain a serious political force, they must moderate their policies and control their fringe elements. But it is worrisome that the NDP leadership clearly wishes to handle this quietly, rather than with the vocal condemnation of anti-Israel activities it (correctly) considered appropriate only a year ago. Some things transcend party politics. Rejecting a provocative attempt to antagonize the military forces of a country long allied with Canada should not be something that Canadian politicians feel must be done quietly.
Canada’s Conservative party has been unwavering in its support of Israel. After President Obama’s recent insistence that Israel return to the 1967 borders (yes, yes, with swaps) in any peace agreement with the Palestinians, there was an attempt by the United States and European members of the G8 to issue a joint statement reiterating the president’s position. It was only Canada, under Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, that was opposed to the call for Israel to willingly agree to militarily untenable borders. The motion failed solely due to Canadian resistance.
With the Obama administration pursuing an increasingly anti-Israel, globalist foreign policy agenda and Europe having turned against the Jewish State long ago, Israel needs all the friends it can get. In a Conservative-led Canada, it has a firm ally in any international forum. Should the NDP, with its clearly conflicted policy on Israel, come to power in a future Canadian election, and if President Obama remains in power, Israel will lose an important ally in its fight for survival.
Matt Gurney is a columnist and editor at Canada’s National Post. He can be reached on Twitter @mattgurney.
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